Should I always do PBR?
Recently, all the models that I have been uploading are PBR because substance makes it easy to do so. Is there a reason for me to not buy/sell PBR? Is there any advantage in nonPBR over PBR models?
If we consider that PBR model is the one that is fully unwrapped, with texture atlases and non PBR is the one that has simple UV mapping, with tiling textures, then yes, there are cases where non PBR makes sense and is more advantegeous over PBR.
@lucasbenicio, how i see this, is that PBR models have great advantage that they are easily portable between DCC apps and they delivers very consistent results, even in real-time engines. They also has weaknesses, like for example, they are texture resolution limited. While this can be overcome with UDIMs, but it carrys significant memory usage penalty. Also with PBR you are quite limited in how complex materials you can create.
On the other hand, with traditional texturing approach, you can use tiling textures, multiple UV channels, create very complex materials, but as a disadvantage, you are usually constrained in your native DCC app and such models cannot be easily transfered to different platform.
So to answer your question, should you always opt for PBR approach? No, you shouldn't. First you need to evaluate model's target auditory and adopt techniques that are most appealing to that auditory.
Are you talking about Substance-specific source materials or PBR texture maps? You can create tileable texture maps that will support PBR rendering so I can't think of a reason to not at least offer PBR-compatible texture maps if your model supports texture maps at all.
PBR simply denotes Physically Based Rendering. Offering PBR texture maps just means you are supporting a PBR workflow with your model. This would include texture maps that will render accurately and consistently in most lighting conditions, including HDR or physically based systems. If your model has UVW coordinates and you plan on offering texture maps of any kind with it, then there's no reason to not offer PBR compatible maps. The only exception to this is models intended for 3d printing and no other purpose.
I can think of no valid reason to not use PBR compatible texture maps with any modern model, regardless if it is for VFX or Game-ready. You can convert old-style color and bump maps into albedo and normal maps (or displacement maps), and it's not very difficult with certain software that is out there. Also glossy, roughness, AO maps can be generated with the same software as long as you have an Albedo and height map information. Even if these maps are tileable.
I use both methods depending on what it is, I do use PBR more than standard tile textures but they do have their uses. If making a small low poly housing set, for instance, it is sometimes quicker and easier to use a single tiled brick texture for all the walls, or a single tiled wood texture for all the beams etc. Using tiled textures is much harder on your UV mapping skills than PBR as well as being a great practice.
If you do use SP then I see no reason why you shouldn't provide PBR textured models as they really do just drop into software like UE4 and Unity. Be aware though, you do from time to time get a request/ order that will require tileable textures. Good luck, and most of all, have fun!
I feel like there is some confusion as to what PBR actually is. As I have mentioned and 3D-Store has pointed out, you can have tileable PBR textures on your model. In fact, anything that you are able to do with old-style texture maps, you can do with PBR, only better. I think some people are thinking that Substance Designer source files or Substance Painter are the only way to do PBR, but that isn't actually true. Substance Designer and Painter are just two universal standards for creating PBR textures from scratch in a procedural manner, but PBR texture maps can be created using many other methods and are no different in many ways to how "old style" texture maps worked with your model. The difference is merely that PBR textures contain more accurate data information about the surface material and how light should interact with the model. That's all. You can convert any of your older style texture maps into PBR textures automatically using certain software and they will work just fine in most cases with all modern render engines.
You don't need to unwrap or UV your model in any special way to use PBR textures. Yes, it is true that if you are creating PBR using the Substance methods (which are the industry standard now) then you will likely need a UV unwrapped model with non-overlapping islands to get the best results. However, that is not the only way to create PBR textures. In fact, you can easily convert all your older models to contain PBR compatible textures automatically now with certain software and you don't need to change anything specific about the way they are mapped.
So, in the end, there really is no reason to not use PBR for any model that is more than just a 3d print. If you have a model that contains textures, you are much better off to create maps that can be used in PBR. For example, color information that does not contain shadows or highlights in it (albedo), specular or glossy maps, metalness maps (if there is any metallic areas of the model), a normal map instead of just a bump map, a heightmap for displacement (optional), a roughness map (just the inverse of a glossy map), and if you really want to a AO map is also handy and can be created with any model that has height data. That's all you need to at least get started with being PBR ready. If the user needs more than that, it's very simple to generate new maps based on those basic PBR standards.
It depends on what you're going for... It's not necessary all the time
I think there's probably enough information in the thread now for people to make a logical decision about using PBR with their models, so I'll just add one last comment to wrap up my opinion on the topic. I believe if you are creating commercial models for anything other than 3d printing or fabrication purposes, I would strongly suggest offering PBR textures with the models. It doesn't have to be Sbsar or Substance painted, but every model that has the potential to be used for VFX, games, or arch-viz should contain at least basic PBR texture elements. Diffuse (albedo), height, normal, and glossiness or roughness maps are all you need for PBR at the minimum. In my opinion, if you aren't at least offering those textures with your models you may not be maximizing your sales potential. Again, 3d printable models are really the only exception to that.
Anyway, it's been an interesting topic. I hope everyone is doing well. Good luck in the new year to everyone.
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